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Hopeful of Te Reinga temporary bridge opening in the New Year

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Complex site conditions and design adjustments have caused the pre-Christmas opening of temporary Te Reinga Bridge access to be pushed out to early next year.

While a genuine attempt is being made to progress the work, the complex nature of the project means the anticipated December opening is now unlikely.

The building of the temporary bridge has been plagued with delays, including a very wet winter, which pushed the project backwards. An updated works programme has also identified more detailed work is needed on the piling and construction of the staging approaches.

To date, the design and construction processes have been worked on concurrently while on-site to speed the process up as much as possible. However, the unstable ground condition has limited the ability to carry out both work streams. Extensive work is required to create a working platform, and the platform cannot be installed while piles are being driven due to health and safety concerns.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive Kitea Tipuna said with a 92-metre bridge span and challenging ground conditions, this project is very complex. The fact the original bridge sustained damage in two consecutive weather events, which forced its closure, demonstrates the challenges the designers and builders face. Safety is the priority, and while we all want the temporary access in place as soon as possible, it is imperative the design is fit for purpose.

“Onsite contractors, QRS, and work partners are drawing on all appropriate resources to speed up tasks and claw back any time savings that we can. We also need to note that while the opening has been pushed out to the new year at this stage, there may be further weather-related delays that are out of anyone’s control.

“The communities impacted by the bridge closure have been extremely patient, and we are doing everything we can to complete this project in the fastest possible time. To those people who are affected, thank you again for your understanding while we work through this significant project. It has been a long haul and very inconvenient and expensive to drive around the longer Erepeti/Ohuka route. We appreciate everyone’s patience.”

Te Reinga Bridge was initially damaged in the March/April 2022 weather events and was closed while a temporary repair was carried out and restricted access was reinstated. The bridge was further damaged in Cyclone Gabrielle and was permanently closed and has since been removed.

1 November 2023

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